No, this is not a chair named after my Baylie; but with a different variation of spelling. It is a specially built doggie high chair of sorts first invented for a dog named Bailey. Bailey was born with Congenital Megaesophagus and went on to live a long and happy life with the aid of his chair. The chair is a life-changing invention created especially for dogs who suffer with Canine Megaesophagus; a condition that is difficult to diagnose and with few medical options. The condition has been reported in humans, dogs, cats, ferrets and other animals.
Here is how it works. A Bailey Chair is designed to allow the dog to sit upright while eating to allow gravity to do the work of the esophagus; alleviating regurgitation. Because food is not making it to the stomach and is regurgitated or just falls out of the mouth or throat, it cannot be broken down or the nutrients absorbed which can result in malnourishment and weight loss. After eating, the dogs should remain in the chair between 15-30 minutes.
A little about the condition: According to CanineMegaesophagus.org, the muscles of the esophagus fail and it cannot propel food or water into the stomach. The result is that ingested food sits in the esophagus within the chest cavity and never makes it to the stomach. The most serious complication is that digestive fluid/food will at some point pool in the esophagus which generally results in aspiration of digestive fluid/food, leading to pneumonia (Aspiration Pneumonia).
Megaesophagus can occur at any age as a puppy, or as an older dog. If it afflicts a puppy, the cause is usually genetic or can be due to a surgically repairable condition called PRAA (Persistent Right Aortic Arch). If not secondary to another disorder in adult animals, it is called “idiopathic” (cause unknown). Megaesophagus can be secondary to other diseases such as Myasthenia Gravis, Thyroid, Addisons and other Neurological disorders so consult your veterinarian for a definitive diagnosis.
I was blown away by the dedication of the humans whose dogs suffer from this condition and equally surprised as to how accepting these dogs are of the chair. As you can see from the below video, our friend Gremlin has learned to associate his stylish chair with good things! Food!!! Gremlin’s mom gained great knowledge through a Canine Megaesophagus Support Group on Facebook and with the aid of Susan and Gigi of BaileyChairs4Dogs.com who built the chair. Thank you to Gremlin’s family for providing him a good life despite his disability and recommendations by so many to put him down. Sharing his story brings awareness that the diagnosis of Canine Megaesophagus does not mean a death sentence for our four-legged family member.
Symptoms of Canine Megaesophagus:
- Regurgitation of water, mucous or food
- Loss of appetite or refusal to eat
- Sudden weight loss
- Swallowing difficulty, exaggerated and/or frequent swallowing
- Excessive throat clearing with a “hacking” sound.
- Sour and/or foul smelling breath
- Aspiration pneumonia